Interview with Kastle

Kastle Reflections Album

Interview by Michael Walkusky

We got to catch up with Barrett Richards a.k.a. Kastle before his show in San Diego this Friday. Here what he had to say about influences on his new album, favorite Korean spa in California & favorite producers of the moment:

What was the creative process like for Reflections?

It was just all about letting go and letting my instincts guide me. Through meditation before every studio session, I looked to create a dialogue with my subconscious and to just let that communication become involved in the album writing process.

How does Reflections differ from your past music?

I wouldn’t say it really differs at all in regards to the style. I’ve always been inspired by the same timeless sounds of garage, jungle, footwork, bass music, etc. I’d say what is mostly different is the production values and that the songs are slightly more open to interpretation than some of my past pop-leaning works.

When did you start meditating, and how has meditation influenced your music?

It’s something I’ve been interested in and aware of since high school really. I began studying eastern philosophies and mysticism when I was 16. Taoism was the philosophy that really resonated with me. The inner/mystical depths is no easy area to navigate and at 34 I’m still learning so much more and after all the years more and more dots connect. You just keep peeling back the layers of the veil. You encounter forces within yourself that are not always helpful, but when you overcome them you become more empowered by that energy. I just feel like in the past year I’ve had some significant breakthroughs that have allowed me to be more open about my experience and share it in the form of an album.

What do you enjoy most about running your record label Symbols?

It’s a combination of my love for music, pushing boundaries and helping other artists. It’s great to be a part of something bigger than myself and I hope that we can contribute to culture for the greater good.

Who are your favorite producers at the moment?

I’ve got a pretty diverse rotation on lately with artists like Kid Smpl, Lil Yachty, DVA, Gaika, S4U, Kassel Mosse, my.head, SURVIVE, 2814, Dark0 and Jacques Greene.

Which producers have influenced you the most throughout your career?

Three artists that have had a tremendous impact on me at different stages of my life are Moby, Aphex Twin and Burial.

What have been the most transformational musical experiences of your career?

I’d say launching Symbols in 2012 and putting out my debut album in 2013 were really huge for me. Because I have such an independent drive so it felt incredible taking that step. This new album is another extension of that. Also festival sets at Lightning In A Bottle, Shambhala and Coachella were very transformational for me.

What have been the most transformational cultural experiences from tour?

I’d say just the culmination of touring and the experience of travel. Learning that no matter race, religious affiliation, geographical location, etc, at the end of the day, we are all the same.  Seeing that first hand is crucial, and I wish more people in rural America (where I grew up) had the ability to travel more. There are so many people in America who never have real conversations with people different than them and therein lies the disconnect.

Speaking of cultural experiences, I read in another interview that your manager sent you to a Korean spa after you released Reflections. As someone who married into a Korean family, I've become a big fan of Korean spas. Do you have a favorite spa in Koreatown or OC?

"I Spa" in Irvine! It’s dope, I didn’t want to leave.


Don't miss Kastle's return to the Bang Bang theater this Friday in San Diego!

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Interview with Uberjak'd


Q. In a past interview, you stated that Deorro is your favorite producer. What do you enjoy about Deorro's tracks?

A. Deorro is absolutely smashing it right now!, the move to take a step back from djing is a controversial one, a lot of people might not understand it, touring can be really straining not only on your personal life but as yours as an artist, i know that as this year has been a busy one touring wise, on my third tour of the USA right now, finding the time to write music can be challenging, a lot of really busy touring guys aren’t as active as producing their music, using ghost producers and stuff which is another thing a lot of people are talking about right now, i know deorro, as i do produce all our own music so having that time to really get into a creative space in your studio for a period of time is only going to be a good thing for the fans as its going to mean more new music!

Q. Deorro helped Melbourne Bounce evolve by adding Dutch-style leads in his tracks. Who else has been instrumental in Melbourne Bounce's evolution?

A. I think there has been a lot of guys pushing this sound which is great, i think a couple guys that don’t get as much credit as they deserve are the Orkestrated boys from melbourne, they really were the ones to make it a thing in its early days in melbourne and if it wasn’t for them maybe all this sound wouldn’t be where it is right now! i think 2015 is going to be a big year for melbourne bounce with so may australian artists coming out with amazing music and its also interesting to see how many international artists are adopting the sound, I mean Calvin had a bounce track on his latest album, thats crazy when you think where bounce was say 2 years ago.

Q. How do you see Melbourne Bounce evolving over the next few years?

A. Like any dance music its all about evolution, i think the “big room bounce” is really taking off, id like to see the deeper stuff with its more minimal/psytrance roots get a spot in the limelight as well.

Q. How does it feel to be one of the stars of Melbourne Bounce during its international growth and acceptance as a sub genre?

A. It's really humbling to be a part of something thats so big, but i guess thats because i love the sound so much, i remember hearing my first melbourne track, and from that moment on i was hooked.

Q. You said in another interview that you've been working on some deeper 122 BPM stuff as well as some trap. How much time have you put into producing music that isn't Melbourne Bounce? Also, do you plan on releasing these tracks under an alias in the future?

A. I think as an artist its important to keep your mind open to new possibilities, like infusing the sounds of other genres into yours, i think as Uberjak'd its all about club music, music I will play in my sets, weather i release some of this other stuff under another alias, i guess thats something we will find out in the future!

Q. What are the biggest trends in Australian music right now?

A. Australia I feel has always been a real trend setter when it comes to dance music, bounce is obviously really big, it has really had the radio cross over which hasn’t yet happened in the USA, but i think that isn’t far away. not that that is important in terms of the club scene but more exposure for the sound is always a good thing.

Q. What are the most notable differences between American and Australian crowds?

A. TBH not that much hahah, we all like to party thats why i think we get along so well! obviously the 21 drinking age is one difference, i remember playing this show in phoenix where ones side of the club was 18-21 then 21 and older on the other, both split by this fence, it was really weird at first but it showed one of the big differences in the 2 scenes.

Q. When you're not listening to Melbourne Bounce, what kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

A. I’m actually listening to Knife Party's new album right now, its really good!

Q. You've worn Bixel Boys' #FREELIFE jersey at some of your shows. How did you become friends with Bixel Boys, and what do you think of their jersey?

A. Yeah its great, i think its a really top thing to donate to charity the money from those jerseys, I actually met them at the Palm Springs gig last tour [Splash House], really nice guys!

Uberjak'd Fluxx San Diego LED presents

Q. What was it like playing at LED's Splash House in Palm Springs?

A. Splash House was awesome, it was actually so crazy that there were so many of us Ozzies there—Motez, Wax Motif, Aston Shuffle! It was like an Ozzie take over!

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